Saturday, April 26, 2008
Wheels for paralyzed turtle
Jim Lee is a contributor to MAKE magazine, and is interested in turtles and bamboo. He built a set of wheels for an injured box turtle, shown here.
Little Bit, a young Eastern Box Turtle was hit by a car in September of 2000. Her shell was crushed and she was left partially paralyzed. There was no way she would ever be released to the wild as happens with most successful rehabs. I repaired her shell using velcro strips epoxied to anchor points on her carapace. After some weeks Little Bit seemed to have made a full recovery except for the use of her hind legs. So some wheels seemed to be the way to go. Some lightweight model airplane wheels on a wire frame did the trick. The removable wheels were secured by a velcro strip epoxied to her plastron. The velcro strips on the carapace were removed after four months. She was eating, drinking, and exploring all the rooms of my house. Eventually she was able to move around outside as well. She lived until early in 2002 when she died unexpectedly (and suddenly). After all she had been through I did not have the heart to order any kind of post mortem from the local vet school. I simply said goodbye and thanked her for what she had shared with me and others who met her.